Women in Otolaryngology Section: Ten complete inaugural Leadership Course
On a February 2016 evening video conference call, a group of 10 diverse female otolaryngologists completed the first Women in Otolaryngology (WIO) Section Leadership Course.
On a February 2016 evening video conference call, a group of 10 diverse female otolaryngologists completed the first Women in Otolaryngology (WIO) Section Leadership Course. Selected from a highly competitive application process, the group began the inaugural course created by Mona M. Abaza, MD, MS, and Carol R. Bradford, MD. Initiated with a generous grant from Medtronic, the course was modeled after the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) female faculty development courses and the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program at Drexel University. The intent was to help mentor and foster developing women leaders in the AAO-HNS.
The course was launched at the March 2015 AAO-HNS/F Leadership Forum, starting with an all-day face-to-face workshop that evaluated participants’ Myers-Briggs personality types as they related to their leadership styles, and proceeded with the participants attending many leadership talks during the forum.
Thereafter, the group met virtually, on a monthly basis, to explore a variety of skills. Participants tackled many of the complicated facets of leadership throughout the year, including conflict management styles and handling difficult conversations, identifying personal traits that can aid/hinder leadership styles, and gaining knowledge of various negotiation skills and types. At last fall’s Annual Meeting in Dallas, we had the opportunity to meet with leaders of the WIO Section and further develop their group bond and networking skills.
Throughout the year, participants worked on capstone projects, both individually and as pairs or in groups. The format also provided a structure for peer-to-peer coaching. These projects had a positive impact for the AAO-HNS and Members’ regional areas. Several of the participants played a significant role in the mENTor Connect project and rollout. Other projects included development and promotion of local otolaryngology groups, the initiation of diversity and inclusion plans for residents, and the launch of a new female resident recognition award by the WIO Section.
The group also had significant advancement in their service roles to the Academy. Several members of the group recently have been appointed/elected to leadership positions within the AAO-HNS. This includes the member-at-large for the WIO Section, the Board of Governors chair-elect, Young Physicians Section chair-elect, and the WIO Research and Survey Committee chair, to name a few. Also, Nikhila P. Raol, MD, MPH, was presented with the Holt Leadership Award for Residents and Fellows-in-Training at the 2015 Annual Meeting. All of the participants have played active roles within the AAO-HNS this year and hopefully will continue to expand their roles in the Academy and in their local communities in the future.
Based on the feedback received, the group indicated they most valued the mentorship and networking experience provided by the course. One participant remarked that she would have never had the courage to ask for what she needed to support her career without the skills and backing of the group leaders and participants. Overall, the one most valued aspect for the participants was a safe place to explore their own self-knowledge and areas for improvements, as well as form bonds with each other. As women are still in the minority in our specialty, many do not have structures in their home locations that provide a place to discuss and explore solutions to many personal and professional issues. This program provided that structure for the group members and allowed them to expand those opportunities to others around them. All have indicated their desire to aid the mentoring of the next group, as well as continue to informally meet together.
We are seeking funding to expand the pilot program for the coming year for 20 new participants. The addition of a professional leadership coach and consultant to the program will fortify the skills and techniques offered to the participants. As the face-to-face sessions were valued most highly by the group, despite the personal effort and cost incurred, two in-person sessions are being planned. The kick-off meeting is scheduled for Saturday, September 17, immediately before the AAO-HNSF 2016 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM in San Diego, and the second face-to-face session will occur during the AAO-HNS/F 2017 Leadership Forum & BOG Spring Meeting in Alexandria, VA. Please contact WIO at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and/or to apply for one of the highly desired slots.